Having small kids makes impulsive weekend breaks next to impossible, and the most meticulously planned holidays a terrifying prospect. Mostly because of the s-word.
Corinne McDermott, mum of two and creator of blog Have Baby Will Travel, is an old hand at schlepping little ones cross-continent–globally, too.
Check out her economy class tips for surviving nap time and overnight-ers whilst in transit:
In the car
“When you can, time long driving stretches to coincide with your baby’s usual sleep schedule. Push off at naptime or bedtime and you’ll not only keep your baby on her regular routine, but you’ll up your odds of a successful en-route snooze,” explains Corinne.
If your bubs likes props, bring a comfort item from home, like bedding. Also; it doesn’t hurt to camp out in the backseat with your mini travel companion–provided you actually have someone to man the wheel, of course.
In the air
Especially young kids are the easiest to haul around. They’re not mobile, and they’re not verbal. So there’s little protest–as long as you keep the milk on tap, and a cuddly chest in close proximity. Sleep is pretty much inevitable.
On the other hand, older tots feed off of new sensory input like a bucketful of Halloween candy. Corinne advises to avoid booking flights during nap time, or at least don’t invest any hopes in a peaceful journey, as shuteye is unlikely to happen–it’s all too exciting. Instead, try get your bubs to sleep in the lounge, or on the way to the airport. At least then they won’t be hyper and cranky.
With regards to seat versus lap, it’s down to your baby. If naps come easily in their car seat, stick with that. If they prefer to snuggle, save on the extra seat fare and hold ’em. But of course, consider how long both of you can abide your chosen positions:
“Can I take a three-hour flight with a child on my lap? Yes. A seven-hour flight? That’s where I would look into investing in an additional seat,” Corinne says.
The worst thing about travelling with children via public transport–besides the germs–is the fact that you are stuck in close quarters with judgy strangers. The trick is to respond to your baby’s hunger and sleepy cues before they ratchet up the impatience. And to avoid them coming into contact with all the grossness (as much as that is possible), pack a bunch of fave toys, some bright board books, and compact activity for the older kiddies. Idle hands and all that…Also try tire out your littlies before hopping on board–this makes slipping off to sleep in a stimulating environment that much easier.
Corinne emphasises that whatever happens, travel isn’t always predictable, and nor are babies–and that’s a fact for everyone who’s ever attempted to go anywhere with offspring on board. So try to shrug off the stranger pressure and focus on getting to your journey as smoothly as possible–for your own family’s benefit.